Hillsboro murder suspect's trial tests new Oregon law
A juvenile charged in the October murder of 17-year-old Adrian Bucio-Rodriguez in Hillsboro may be tried in the adult criminal justice system, a Washington County judge ruled Tuesday, Aug. 17.
The juvenile faced charges, including second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, said Lynne Schroeder, juvenile services director for Washington County.
The case is among the first in Oregon in which prosecutors wanted to try the youth as an adult since state lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1008, which changed voter-approved provisions automatically placing youth charged with major felonies in adult court. The bill in part left whether juveniles are prosecuted as adults up to a judge.
It is perhaps the first time a judge has granted prosecutors' push for the youth to be tired as an adult.
Kathy Berger, an attorney for the juvenile, said her 17-year-old client plans to appeal the judge's decision for his case to be moved to the adult system. She would not discuss other details of the case.
The News-Times is withholding the juvenile's name because the appeal could move the case back to the juvenile system. As a matter of editorial policy, the News-Times does not identify subjects of juvenile court proceedings.
On Oct. 9, Adrian Bucio-Rodriguez was shot and killed in the 1800 block of Northeast Barberry Drive.
Another victim was hospitalized, officials with the Hillsboro Police Department reported.
One week later, police said a juvenile suspect turned himself in for the shooting.
Family members and friends of Bucio-Rodriguez placed a memorial hours after the shooting on Barberry Drive.
Days later, nearly 100 people gathered to support the family and call for people with information about the shooting to come forward.
Details about why the judge decided to move the case to adult court are unknown. Court documents related to the juvenile case are not public. A judge must make a ruling on a motion whether to release such documents.
According to Oregon law, following a hearing, a judge may waive a youth into adult court based on certain criteria.
The criteria include whether the youth was mature enough to appreciate the gravity of the crime, the youth shows the ability to be rehabilitated in the juvenile system, and the crime was alleged to be violent and premeditated. It also considers the youth's prior history of treatment, mental health and acts that would be criminal if they were an adult; the gravity of the alleged crime; and the prosecutorial merit of the case.
The youth alleged to have killed Bucio-Rodriguez had a previously closed formal accountability agreement with the juvenile justice system for prior conduct, including unauthorized use of a vehicle, unlawful manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance, and recklessly endangering another, Schroeder said.
The juvenile has been in custody at Multnomah County's juvenile detention center since October, Schroeder said.
Family members and friends of Bucio-Rodriguez have been advocating against certain aspects of SB 1008 since the shooting, saying the new law doesn't allow for enough accountability of youth alleged to have committed major crimes such as murder.
Advocates of the controversial law say it takes into account recent greater scientific understanding that shows people's brains are not fully developed until they're in their 20s.
Prior to the bill's passage, juveniles charged with crimes such as rape and murder under Measure 11, a ballot measure that was passed in 1994, were automatically tried as adults.
Veronica Montoya-Rodriguez, the mother of Bucio-Rodriguez, said in an interview the judge's decision to waive the juvenile to adult court came with mixed feelings.
"I was so happy to hear the outcome, but at the same time, it just really put into reality that with this outcome, my son doesn't get to come back home," Montoya-Rodriguez said.
Participating in hearings related to the case for more than 10 months has been painful, she said.
The support of her family and community have helped her get through the process, Montoya-Rodriguez said.
The support has shown her how loved her son was and how many people's lives he made better, she said.
"Everybody remembers him, from his smile to his personality to his grace to his compassion," Montoya-Rodriguez said. "Anybody that was in need of help, he helped."
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